August 25, 1993

Bee-ware of Bumble Bees


For reasons that are not yet clear tome, this has been a good year for bumble bees. In my own yard,bumble bees have been more noticeable as they forage for nectarfrom flowers of bee balm, St. Johnswort and other plants.

Visions of Coneflowers


Coneflower is the common name ofseveral genera of plants including purple coneflower, Echinacea;prairie coneflower, Ratibida; and coneflower, Rudbeckia.Coneflowers get their common name from the central portion of theflower known as the disk. The brown to black disk area is made upof many small individual flowers. The disk area can be raised orcolumnar in shape. The outer portion of the flowerhead is made upof numerous ray flowers each containing a long strap-like petal.

Flea Season Starts Again


The few calls and samples alreadyreceived at the ISU Insect Diagnostic Clinic indicate our typicallate summer flea season has already started, though it is still too early to tell how bad the fleas will be this year. Through the late 1980s we saw increasingly severe flea problems almost annually. Fortunately, that trend did not continue in the early 1990s and flea populations have been highly variable from year to year and place to place.

Assessing Tree Damage Resulting from Flooding


Well, are youready to try growing trees in flood-prone areas again? We've alllearned some difficult lessons in 1993 as flood waters coveredparks, golf courses, marinas, and low-lying residential areas.However, it is still too soon for any conclusions to be drawn aboutlong-term damage to trees and shrubs.

Weed or Seed?


The cool, wet weather in July and so far inAugust has been a curse for the warm-season garden crops and ablessing for anyone with a cool-season lawn. The lush green lawnsare obvious everywhere. However, a closer look identifies manyother species besides turfgrass. Crabgrass has invaded many areaseven though a preemergence herbicide was used this spring and thebroadleaf weeds such as white clover, and broadleaf plantain aretoo numerous to even attempt to count.